Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature: Are You a Ladybug?


Are you a ladybug? written by Judy Allen and illustrated by Tudor Humphries takes us through the life cycle of a ladybug.  Allen begins by showing us what a ladybug’s parents look like.  She then goes on to tell us that the mother lays eggs, the babies inside grow and then brake out.  At this point they may wonder if they are ladybugs because they don’t look anything like a ladybug.The babies are not the same shape or color as their parents.  As time goes on, the babies eat and grow.  Their skin becomes tight, it cracks and they wriggle out of it.  They do this over and over again until they finally emerge as the same shape as a lady bug but very pale and with no spots.  “Slowly, slowly, slowly, your color grows stronger.  Your black dots appear.  Congratulations, you’re a ladybug!”

Curriculum Connections
This book would be a fun resource to use when introducing life cycles to students and for teaching students that not all babies resemble their parents when they are born.  Many children know that butterflies start out as caterpillars and that frogs start out as tadpoles but I bet that most of them don’t know that a ladybug doesn’t start out as a ladybug.  It would be interesting to show pictures of a few baby insects (including a ladybug) and animals to the class and ask what they will grow up to be before reading this book.    With younger children the book would be used to show that animals need to eat to survive, that they change as they grow and have varied life cycles.  It would also be used to teach students that offspring of animals are similar but not identical to their parents.  (VA SOL K.7 a, c,d).  It could be used with older students to teach that animals undergo a series or orderly changes as they mature and grow (VA SOL 2.4 a).

Additional Resources

  • This  lifecycle page contains the pages to create the lifecyle of a ladybug book.
  • This  sequencing page contains a useful assessment activity.
  • This butterfly lifecycle mobile looks like a fun craft.  It shows the complete metamorphosis of a butterfly from egg to larva (caterpillar) to pupa to adult (the butterfly).

Book: Are you a ladybug?
Author: Judy Allen
Illustrator: Tudor Humphries
Publisher: Kingfisher
Publication Date: 2000
Pages: 31 pages
Grade Range: K – 2
ISBN: 9780753452417

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